The wandering interests of JamaOwl

Posts tagged ‘travel’

Italy – Day 5

A late start today. We didn’t meet to leave until 9:15.  We thought we would be walking all the way (more on that later).  First off is the Accademia Gallery where we see Michelangelo’s David.  The best part of the day for Evan.  We took lots and lots of pictures.  The David was originally suppose to be on the top of a cathedral but it was so liked that it was decided it should be in a plaza where it could be seen. Later it was moved to a museum.  

Evan had gelato.

From there we went to the Duomo – beautiful.  The dome was designed by Brunelleschi.  It is a 15th century church.

Lunch was on our own and we found some pizza.

Evan had gelato.

We then met the de Medici family. The Palazzo Vecchio was the seat of the de Medici family before it became the center of local government.  The de Medici family ruled the Republic of Florence.  We were taken on a tour and went through a secret passage where the children on the tour got to try on some of the costumes that are used for presentations given at the Palazzo Vecchio.

Along the way my shoe fell apart so by the time we got to the Boboli Gardens I only had half a sole.  I went halfway up the stairs – far enough to get a good, if not perfect, view of the city.  The shoes are trash now.

Dinner was not too far away and I’m afraid I have forgotten the name of the restaurant. I had the best orecchiette ever.  During dinner, IT RAINED.

And Evan had gelato. We took taxis back to the hotel.

Italy Day 4 Rome to Florence

A partial travel day.  We left Rome in the morning. Drove through some beautiful country.  We stopped around 11 AM in Siena where we visited it’s medieval center.  Siena is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  We went through a Gothic 13 century Duomo and its museum.  We walked down to the Il Campo, a sprawling, fan-shaped piazza which is famed for its annual Palio horse race.  The preparations are well on their way for the horse race which takes place in July.

We ate a quick 1 hour lunch at the GalloNero trattoria.

Back on the bus we drove to a nearby hill town called Chiusdino and explored the Cistercian Abbey of San Galano.  This is suppose to be the original story of the sword in the stone legend.  Galano who was a Knight Templar decided to lay down his arms and thrust his sword into the stone.  We also visited the church without a roof.  Our guide came robed as Dante for his talk at both places.

After a short break we continued on to our hotel in Florence.  On our own for dinner, we went to a trattoria and got something to eat.

No matter how much we try, it is always late by the time we get in bed.  Must have something to do with not starting dinner until after 9:00 PM.

 

Italy – day 3

Day 3 was totally packed, possibly one of the most packed we’ve had.  We started at the Vatican Museums with lots of sculpture and other art.  There were discussions of how the Church reconciled its self to the religious beliefs of the pagans over the years.  Some of that resolution was shown in the arts.  We finished this part of the tour at the Sistine Chapel.  The brightness of the paintings and their techniques and the obstacles Michelangelo faced were very interesting.

We next went to Saint Peter’s Basilica which is right next door.  It is the largest church in the world and the holy center of Christianity.  The apostle Peter was buried in a shrine built in 64 AD.  Bramante and Michelangelo were the chief architects of the Basilica.  There was a range of examples of different architecture styles.

We went to lunch at a restaurant in the area.  Lunch was only 2 hours – starting with an eggplant and pasta, then pork with vegetables and finishing with a chocolate mousse.  Much simpler than before.

After lunch we went to the Trevi Fountain – yes Brianna the only place you knew about before we took you to Europe.  What a beautiful fountain.  The white marble and the blue water will make you immediately feel much cooler, just don’t stand in the heat too long or the cool goes away.

We went to past the Spanish Embassy and the Spanish Stairs – on to the Spanish steps which aren’t really Spanish, but are in front of the French church and were paid for by the French.  Who knew?

After returning to our hotel and cooling down some, we went souvenir shopping.

We had a free evening.  We found a pizza shop (the best part according to Evan) and ate a simple pizza.  It certainly didn’t take 3 hours.

 

Italy – Day 2

What a day!  Started with a stroll through the Roman Forum.  We had a local guide who was great.  So many things to see (old stuff according to Evan).  There were a lot of ups and down, climbing some then going back down some.  The ground was originally level, but Rome had a lot of fires and things were built on top of the rubble.  Even since Rome fell, the piling continued.  We saw a church from the 1500’s whose door was about 15 ft off the ground.  The rubble had piled up that high and they didn’t really know what was under it.

After the Roman Forum we went to the Colosseum.  We had seen a lot of pictures of the Colosseum, but the real thing is so much better.  The guide had a book that showed the Colosseum as it is now, and then had overlays that showed what is originally looked like.  (He used the same book for various parts of the Roman Forum.)  It really gave you a taste of what the area was like for the Romans.

Both sites had a lot of people, the Colosseum more than the Forum which we went to earlier before the crowds got as bad.  They are right next to each other so we walked from the Forum to the Colosseum.

After this we took the bus to the Underground Stadium of Domitian.  Underground now, but it wasn’t when it was built.  There was a 3-D movie running that showed the Stadium and many of the other places as they are and as they were.  I was so impressed, I bought the DVD.  I had no idea that Rome was so crowded.  So many things so close together.  When I thought about how many hundreds of years they had to collect buildings, I realized that we are doing the same crowding in Washington D.C.  The Washington Mall is a perfect example with the additions of the Vietnam Memorial and the WWII memorial between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.  We’ll get as crowded.

For lunch, which was around 2, we went to a trattoria and had Noodles with Pecorino cheese, then meatballs and potatoes, then a salad, then tiramisu for dessert  Less than 3 hours, but this was lunch.

We went on a scavenger hunt while most of the people went back to the hotel to rest.  We were looking for things to put on a pizza.  This being Sunday and this being a great vacation, we didn’t go to a shopping center.  We went to an area knowing for it’s little shops and cafes.  We found our mushrooms, anchovies, water buffalo mozzarella, red pepper, a number of sausages and some ham.   At 6:00 everyone left for the restaurant to make pizza.  The restaurant was all set up for it with spots for everyone, floured boards, rolling pins, aprons – the whole works.  We made our pizzas and they were cooked in a wood burning pizza oven.  After the pizzas we had gelato and fruit.  One of our guides made a nutella and banana dessert pizza.  It was pretty good.  Not nearly as much food, but plenty since everyone had made their own pizza.

Back to the hotel at 9:00 and it was still quite light, but by the time we were ready for bed it was also quite late.

Italy – first day

We’re in Italy.  Evan’s trip.  First day.  Arrived at 8 in the morning after an 8 hour flight.  Not bad.

Rome.  We’ll be here until Tuesday.  Lots to see. We walked around a little bit after dropping our bags at the hotel, but it was hot and humid, just like DC.  Returned to the air conditioning of the hotel.  We’ll be meeting the rest of the group in a couple hours.

Our first trip was to Capolitine Hill for a meranda – a bit to eat, an afternoon snack, with the whole group.

After a short break at the hotel, we are going off to dinner.

And now after a 3 hour dinner we are back at the hotel.  Tomorrow I hope to give a better report.  We have a full day.

 

 

Mediterranean tragedy

From Time Magazine: September 12-19, 2016; p2, ‘From the Editor’

The article is talking about people fleeing across the Mediterranean Sea from Libya and the smugglers that are taking advantage of them.

“There’s virtually no chance that the boats will make the 300-mile journey to Europe; they will either sink, drowning all on board, or be intercepted by a rescue ship or naval vessel or patrol.”

“… embedded with a rescue team from the medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières on the MV Aquarius.  It took their 77-ft., steel-clad, multi-engine surveying vessel 36 hours to reach Sicily from Libya.  ‘The thought that these tiny, 40-horsepower-engine [migrant] boats, loaded with one tank of fuel, could make it anywhere…'”

The comparison between the two vessels gave me a picture of the impossibility of any success by the migrant boats.  That anyone can take a person’s money and actually put them on such boats boggles my mind.

Sharks in an active volcano: Kavachi

I just discovered this.  The post is from July 2015.  Scientist from National Geographic found “Sharks found living inside an active volcano“.  What a surprise.  So many questions.

The Smithsonian Institute Global Volcanism Program has a picture.  Nice view of a ship and the steam.  I can only find information into 2014.  Don’t know what is happening now.

You can find more technical information at Volcano Discovery: Kavachi